Turtle Beach Ear Force Shadow Gaming Headset Review

by on October 13, 2013

As any dedicated online gamer will tell you, sound can be the difference between heroes and zeroes, winners and losers or, more importantly, fun and, well, not-fun. Particularly in the case of intense online shooters, the hardware is as important as the sound-quality in-game, and Tech giants Turtle Beach are well known for their headsets. Their latest offering comes in partnership with Call of Duty: Ghosts as part of their Ear Force range. Retailing at around £69.99 (which would be considered mid-range in today’s market), the Turtle Beach Ear Force Shadow headset appears to be a decent bit of kit, complete with a USB powered inline amplifier and Turtle Beach sticker.

The headset boasts compatibility with a range of devices – PS3, XBOX 360, Mobile and PC – and comes complete with a selection of cables and a simple guide to make the interchange between devices easy to achieve. In a world where most gaming enthusiasts have more than one type of device, this isn’t a feature to be overlooked. The headset offers you wired connectivity with the bonus of amplified sound to your console or PC with minimal fuss.

New PictureStraight out of the box the headset certainly meets its “lightweight” claim, bordering on feeling almost cheap by comparison to some competitors, and once on your head you can almost forget you are wearing them. The design itself is fairly standard, nothing stand-out or flashy, the off-white plastic mouldings adding to the low-price feeling. The padding on the headband is thin, and there’s very little padding underneath the outer lining, giving the impression that the Ear Force Shadow is not designed for long periods of use.

Those like myself who are well endowed in the ear department should fear not; the cups are big enough to cope with a decent size of ear, but not so big that you feel lost in them. The cups are open ear and very breathable, allowing you to continue to hear ambient sound at low volumes. Personally, I prefer to be immersed and would opt for a closed ear with an element of noise cancelling, but it comes down to personal preference.

The inline amplifier makes a big difference to the quality of the sound coming through the headset, adding the bass and treble you would expect. Without the amplifier the sound is quite dull and certainly not with enough bass for my tastes. However, with the amplifier, which is plug and play, the sound is crisp and loud.

The amplifier also comes with three different controls for the microphone, which unfortunately can be easily adjusted by accident.

There is plenty of cable with the headset, which means you can sit quite far away from your console, however if you are on a PC the amount of slack can be more of a hindrance than a bonus. The cable comes with a small Velcro wrap in the box, sadly though this seems to just be for transport. The headset would bonus from a built-in wrap to facilitate some cable management without a fuss.

VERDICT: Overall this is a decent enough headset, though perhaps sports a little too much plastic for the cost. If I was spending my money, I would opt for something like the Razer Carcharias or the Corsair Vengeance 1500. Anyone after something super-lightweight could find this is just the right headset for them – and it’s especially suited for consoles. Though the cost might indicate otherwise, I would say the Turtle Beach Ear force Shadow falls more toward the casual end of the market.

Written by Jonny Hope.

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